Nov 06, 2006
I suffered from Postpartum Depression after having LB two years ago. I spoke of it, at times, here on my blog but always in a past-tense tone. “I had postpartum depression,” “I got help,” “I’m ok now.” And it’s true. I did have it. I did get help. And I was ok for a long time.
I remember being in Borders when LB was two months old. I went searching for books on Post Partum Depression and found disappointedly little. Brooke Sheild’s book didn’t come out until months later and, still, I haven’t read it. I think I am afraid it will remind me of that dark place that I never truly talked about. The place where I used to walk on the far side of the hall in the two story mall because my mind would not stop picturing me tossing LB over the half wall to the floor below. The place where I used to sit in the dark closet and pray for God to kill me or kill her so we could go back to what life was like before. The place where I got in the car at 12 am one night and left my family, briefly, before guilt drove me back home and in to my husband’s bed before he even knew I’d left.
It was horrible and I never told a soul.
I’m able to talk openly about it now because once I was ok again, I found out many women felt the same thing. I found out several moms in our playgroup went through the same thoughts, got help, and could share their stories in past-tense, too. I found out not only was I not alone in that dark place, there were women from every nationality and religion sitting in the closet at their own house praying to their God to take them away. The closet is such a lonely place to be, even when there are so many of us there.
I’ve been taking Celexa since LB was three months old. I remember vividly telling my Shrink (I have a shrink and I know that makes me tres hip) that I honestly couldn’t say I loved my daughter. I would sit in the car and tell Mr. Flinger, “I can SAY it but I don’t MEAN it.” This was the hardest part of Postpartum Depression for me. I wanted to love her. I just didn’t. My Shrink reassured me that it was as normal as crying in the bathroom for an hour and a half and she could fix that for me. She did. I fell in love with my new life and my new family and got just cleared up enough to realize I was ok, I was a mom now, and I’m going to fail miserably at times, at least I’m doing the best I can.
This is all fine and good until one gets knocked up again. I stayed on my medication during the last pregnancy and without any real reason as to why I miscarried, I felt strongly that I’d like to get off the meds this time around. I thought why not give this bean the best chance ever? Why not give it a fresh start? A good uterus? A clean blood supply and maybe a vegetable or two? So I weaned off Celexa three weeks ago and have been crying in the dark ever since.
I wasn’t sure if I should post about being in a bad place at the time it happened. It sounds so, “pity me!” and “woah, life is so hard” when I’m fully aware that my life is not that hard or troubled. I do not struggle with alcoholism, I do not have an abusive husband, we are not so poor we can not pay bills. We have a lovely home, a wonderful daughter, friends and food and luxuries I almost feel guilty for. But mentally, I’m completely fucked. The combination of not working, having no day time friends around, having a toddler at our new home where things are still in total disarray, being so nauseated and tired makes my brain fritz out. It makes me crawl in to a dark corner and cry and pray for it to all go away. I actually muttered, “if I have a miscarriage now I’d be ok with that because I don’t think I can handle another baby. Ever.” I felt so bad about even saying the words that I prayed to Karma to please, oh please, don’t take that seriously because I’d really flip out if I lost the baby now. I’m invested. It’s a bean. It’s got a heartbeat and I really really want to meet it one day. Meet him one day. My boy.
I decided to fix myself because really, I’m not a glutton for punishment. I can see what’s going on (a few weeks in, at least) and realize it’s time to take action. Right now three people are suffering for the good of one. My daughter has no idea why mommy is so mad at her. She’s just trying to show off that she can button her own coat (she can’t) and doesn’t get why something that was OK three weeks ago is not only NOT OK now, it makes mommy yell. I can’t seem to figure out why my child not napping makes me angrier than the thought of North Korea having nukes. Mr. Flinger doesn’t get why I complain about the house but do nothing to fix it. We’re baffled all the while the baby is growing a brain, a heart, courage. The tiny person is trumping the rest of us. And still, even as I type this, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. But we have to find some sort of middle ground. Soon.
I’ve been doing some research on taking SSI drugs during pregnancy. I keep hearing the same thing over and over, “If the risks outweigh the pluses, don’t. On the other hand, if you are a danger to yourself or the baby because you are depressed, it’s worth the 1% chance your child could have a severe pulmonary disorder that could kill him just a few weeks old.” Right. How’s that for no guilt?
Some articles discussion the subject I found include:
WebMD *this is an older article. Note the date. Newer research is more conclusive.
Web MD *2003 study
Consumer Reports *most clear and concise description of persistent pulmonary hypertension .
General Post Partum Depression Information
Obviously the choice is not easy. The decision to put your baby at a 1% risk for a serious health risk may seem small to someone but to a mom carrying and growing a person, it’s huge. ONE percent chance. ONE. That means there’s a 99% chance that nothing would happen? Still, I’m weary. I already carry enough baggage and guilt going in to motherhood as it is, do I need to wonder if I caused my child to suffer needlessly?
Am I already causing one child to suffer needlessly?
I’ve been following Mayo’s antidepressant information for a while now, and I gotta say I’m uncomfortable with their cavalier attitude about the low risks. What they mean by low risk is it may not happen to you, but if it does, it’s BAD. I do a lot of peer counseling with psychiatrists locally, and what we’ve found with a lot of antidepressant patients is that they may not endure any immediate side effects, but in the next second, they will have a massively suicidal thought that seems inexorably pulling them to kill themself. One of my good counseling friends previous to becoming a therapist took an antidepressant, then found herself driving 6 hours trying to find the nearest bridge to hang herself over.. these drugs… they’re not simple bandaids or stomach meds or pain killers. these meds ALTER BRAIN CHEMISTRY. which makes them all the more dangerous, even if the effects aren’t immediately noticed. Also not particularly highlighted is the fact that the newborns are addicted to the antid’s. great. You don’t hear about THAT in the ads.
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